Favorite Quotes from Educated!

Educated was easily one of the most well-written, gripping stories I have ever read. I had a hard time narrowing down my favorite quotes- but these were definitely some of them! I highlighted a good portion of this book just out of pure admiration of Tara Westover’s insightful, vivid and beautiful writing. Others were the power of the words- the way she was able to put universal experiences into words in a genius way.

“It would be past dusk by then- that moment just before night sets in, when the landscape is visible only as darkness and lighter darkness, and you feel the world around you more than you see it.” (Ch. 1, p. 7).

“It’s a tranquility born of sheer immensity; it calms with its very magnitude, which renders the merely human of no consequence.” (Ch. 3, p. 27).

“but the notion that a person could be functional, lucid, persuasive, and something could still be wrong, had never occurred to me.” (Ch. 3, p. 29)

“Dad lived in fear of time. He felt it stalking him.” (Ch. 6, p. 55)

“The skill I was learning was a crucial one, the patience to read things I could not yet understand.” (Ch. 6, p. 62)

“To admit uncertainty is to admit to weakness, to powerlessness, and to believe in yourself despite both. It is a frailty, but in this frailty there is a strength: the courage to live in your own mind, and not in someone else’s”. (Ch. 22, p. 197).

“Not knowing for certain, but refusing to give way to those who claim certainty, was a privilege I had never allowed myself. My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.” (Ch. 22, p. 197)

“He had defined me to myself, and there’s no greater power than that.” (Ch. 23, p. 199).

“His voice was gentle, and that gentleness was cruel.” (Ch. 23, p. 200).

“Curiosity is a luxury reserved for the financially secure:…” (Ch. 23, p. 203).

“I began to experience the most powerful advantage of money: the ability to think of things besides money.” (Ch. 24, p. 207).

“I knew what it was to have a misconception corrected- a misconception of such magnitude that shifting it shifted the world.” (Ch. 28, p. 238).

“I could tolerate any form of cruelty better than kindness”. (Ch. 28, p. 240).

“I felt exposed by the elegance and yet somehow made invisible by it”. (Ch. 28, p. 241).

“This monster child stalked me for a month before I found a logic to banish her: that I was likely insane. If I was insane, everything could be made to make sense. If I was sane, nothing could. The logic seemed damning. It was also a relief. I was not evil; I was clinical.” (Ch. 35, p. 294).

“When I was a child, I waited for my mind to grow, for my experiences to accumulate and my choices to solidify, taking shape into the likeness of a person.” (Ch. 40, p. 327).

“But vindication has no power over guilt. No amount of anger or rage directed at others can subdue it, because guilt is never about them. Guilt is the fear of one’s own wretchedness. It has nothing to do with other people.” (Ch. 40, p. 327).

Have you read Educated? Would love to discuss it more!

<3,

Mackenzie

Friday Favorites! Newborn Edition

This Friday Favorites is going to be a little different today! I figured I would whip up my 10 favorite items I’ve used in this newborn phase. It was hard to narrow down, but I tried to focus on the items I rely on almost daily!

1. Lovevery Play Gym & Play Kit. Quinn loves her play gym, whether on her back or for tummy time. She was gifted the subscription box as well, and it is amazing!! She is so fascinated by everything in it & it’s so fun. I love how it focuses on fostering her development too.

2. Hakka Electric Nail Care Set. I used a regular manual baby nail file for the first couple weeks, and it seemed to take forever and wasn’t very effective. This nail file is a game changer!! It’s safe, easy and fast. She doesn’t mind it either.

3. The Brest Friend Nursing Pillow. The Brest friend is my best friend!!! I LOVE this, and it makes the difference for comfortable breastfeeding. She feels so much more secured and well- positioned on it. I also like to make lunch and then can eat one handed while supporting her with the other on the Brest friend. A must for breastfeeding in my book!

4. Ergo Baby Carrier Wrap. I live in this!! As does Quinn. It’s another game changer- I can get so much done, and she is so comfy in it. It soothes her more than anything too. If she is fussy I put her in this, go for a walk, and it really tends to do the trick. The only downside is it’s a little challenging to initially figure out. But soooo worth putting in the time to learn! It also loosens so I do have to redo it through the day. I just love having her so close to me too.

5. This changing table. We use this in our bedroom right now for night changes and use the changing pad from the nursery downstairs since we don’t do changes in the actual nursery yet. I love this changing table! It has great pockets, is super easy to clean and is easy to assemble.

6. Bath Kneeler and Elbow Rest Pad. A bath time essential !

7. Bumco Bum Brush. This makes applying diaper creams/ointments so much easier and less messy! I love!

8. Itzy Ritzy Diaper Bag. Obsessed with this bag! I take it everywhere with us.

9. Baby Bjorn Bouncer. Due to Quinn’s reflux, this bouncer has been particularly useful during her playtime immediately after feeds before switching to the play mat.

10. GoGo Plastic Milk Bags. I tried a couple different milk storage bags (I tried some silicone ones that were too expensive and a pain!), but I love these- they have no air when you seal them, and they’re BPA free.

What are some things you’re loving lately?

<3,

Mackenzie

*All pictures are from the respectively linked site*

Weeks 5 & 6!

Top of the morning to ya!! After so many blog posts, I figured I’d try out a new greeting 😜. Oh did you hear? Emojis are no longer ‘cool’. I think there have been murmurs about this since early 2021, but I’m just now coming out of the stage of denial. So alas, we’re at a crossroads: Continue to use my beloved laughing face with tears…even when things aren’t all that funny …or put the emojis aside at an attempt to keep up with the times. I will have to think on it 🤔.

Anyway! I am very excited to dive into weeks 5 & 6. They were definitely better overall than the two weeks prior! While there was no set routine per say, it felt like the days had/have some sort of rhythm: wake up, put Quinn in her dock-a-tot while I quickly get into the first yoga pants and tshirt I can grab, have breakfast with her either in the carrier or swing (whichever she’ll tolerate), go for a walk, have lunch, do misc. chores in the afternoon while she naps in carrier (she didn’t nap well outside the carrier during those weeks), play time after feeds (tummy time/contrast books/Lovevery play gym/bouncer) and read my kindle or watch a few episodes of housewives of NJ with downtime. I usually start dinner earlier than I used to, around 5. We still even have a couple crockpot meals left! I think weeks 5 & 6 were also somewhat better because we started understanding her cues better- a hungry vs overtired cry for example, and we started to learn the best soothing techniques for specifics times of day/situations.

The evenings of week 5 & 6 were tough though because she had a definite witching hour between the hours of 8-11 pm. Knock on wood, writing this at week 7, this has improved a lot!!

June 3rd we started the morning with lots of snuggles. She loves having her hands up by her face, I’m pretty sure that’s how she was most of the time in the womb.

Hehe, I love this pic.

We didn’t go on a walk that morning due to a scheduled doctors appt, so we played a lot on her play mat and then came home for lunch after the appt.

June 4th was such a great, lazy day. I love weekends especially because DJ is here all day. We went on a walk in the morning, and then I soaked up all the cuddles with Quinn in the afternoon. That evening we watched a couple episodes of Yellowstone – our latest obsession.

June 5th we started the day with a walk again. As I walked back from the bathroom on the trail, I captured DJ juggling these two like a pro!

That afternoon we went over to see Quinn’s Poppy, Sissy and Aunts!

 In the morning of June 6th, we met with the nurse practitioner I mentioned in my last post. That’s when things really started to turn the corner! I’m so thankful for her. We see her again for Quinn’s 2 month appointment.

 That afternoon after some play time we took this sweet pea’s one month photo 🥰. But also, it amazed me that a month had already passed! Howww. And now we’re already coming up on two!

A lot of times when DJ gets home, he’ll play with her while I run up to shower. She does so well on the play mat. She particularly loves just laying on her back and kicking away. Writing this at week 7, she’s already rolled over 4 times (!!).

 The morning of June 7th I went on a walk with Moose & Quinn, I know I sound like a broken record!

 I was on a kick that week of stuffed sweet potatoes for dinner. This one had avocado, green beans, a vegan burger, artichoke hearts and wilted kale. I love topping these with Noble Made dressings.

June 8th we received another adorable photo of Moose and Crush together 🥰.

She sent us home with some awesome pics of Moose she had taken!

That afternoon, Rach, her sister, Olivia, and Trotter came by to see Quinn 💕.

 Gigi came by on June 9th and knowing how challenging things had been lately, she brought over the sweetest gift and card. The words of encouragement in her card meant the world and came at such a perfect time. She also has been helping me out so much with getting naps in and caring for Quinn while I get things done. So thankful for her being close!

June 10th, DJ went out of town for a wedding for the weekend. I decided to try seeing how Quinn would do in her crib that evening. I set up a makeshift bed on the floor next to her crib to sleep on for the night.

Moose thought it was a bed for him though.

Overall, she did well! I was excited thinking oh, she just wants to be in a crib, but then the next two nights didn’t go well so back to the original co-rooming we went. (I way prefer this anyway).

Late that evening my sister, Andrea, flew in from Colorado to meet Quinn for the first time!

 The next day was a wild one. The morning of June 11th started out normal- we had breakfast then headed out for our walk. It was a busy day on the trail, so I was grateful my sister was with me. She took Moose and I walked Quinn in the stroller. For the second part of the walk, we switched since Moose can be quite the handful when there are so many people and dogs on the trail! Near the end of the trail, we spotted a goose off to the side. We were a little nervous having Moose pass by, but the goose was not bothered by the people and bikers going by. Andrea and Quinn went first with no issues. Then I started walking and had a gut feeling things were not going to go well. The goose started hissing. I created as much space as possible, but it didn’t matter. Moose lunged and the goose angrily threw up its wings and started chasing us. Moose was freaked out and darted the other way… taking me with him. I had the waist leash on, so I couldn’t just let go. I was drug through gravel and concrete. When we finally stopped, I was glued to the ground but in my periphery I could see a blur of gray wings an arms reach away that I knew belonged to the goose. I heard Moose yelp and was terrified he was getting attacked or bit. He took off again, and I was drug a second time. This time the goose didn’t follow, thank goodness. My sister saw the whole thing and reassured me Moose and the goose never made contact. I think he yelped because he felt cornered or in response to my own screams. I was so shaken up and quite injured with deep scrapes on my hands and knees, so she came over to get Moose. I took the stroller (thankfully Quinn and Andi were far away from the event). The goose dived into the brush on the other end of the trail and my sister and Moose made it across safely. Let’s just say, the term “goose chase” has taken on a whole new meaning for me!

When we got home, I got all cleaned and bandaged up, and then we had lunch. After, I was able to get in a nap while we watched some shows.

Once refreshed, I decided it would be good to tackle setting up a bean bag lounger for Quinn. I bought this as it was advertised to be good for reflux. It was such a pain in the butt to put together (something that should just be so simple?), and the beans got EVERYWHERE. I still am finding them today! Coupling the pain I was in from my morning bath of gravel with the frustration with this bean bag, I just started crying. The tears ended up turning to laughter when we realized just how truly ridiculous the whole bean bag situation was. We decided to document the whole crazy fiasco with this picture!

 The night really turned up when my sister cooked us up a delicious meal of coconut chicken.

Of course, this sweet girl lifted my spirits too! The look she’s giving me in this picture cracks me up!

Fortunately, June 12th was way less eventful. Since DJ got home around 1 AM, he was there in the morning to go on the walk with us. It was a much smoother walk, goose free!

Andi made us a yummy Korean pancake for lunch, one of her favorite recipes she graciously shared with me!

Moose loves playing with her play mat 😆.

That evening I made us shrimp tacos in the air fryer. I crave these!!!

For dessert, I had a pitaya bowl with berries, pb2 to mix in and part of a Go Macro bar.

Sadly, we said goodbye to Andi the next day- so thankful she was able to make it here though ❤️.

June 14th, Gigi came by to spend time with us and gave me some time to get in a wonderful nap. I just love this picture!!

And here’s a random picture of Moose being Moose.

When my mom was here, she got me a basil plant given how quickly I go through it. On June 15th, I whipped up a caprese for DJ and used some of it! It smells so amazing and fresh. I have zero green thumb, so I just hope I can keep this thing alive, lol.

Oh look, it’s more Moose being Moose.

 Marie is out of town for a few weeks, and he’s definitely been acting up. I think he misses his friends 🥺. Plus he’s just not expending as much energy, so he’s getting into everyyyyything.

This picture is from June 16th. My sweet girl lost much of her hair in weeks 5 & 6, leaving her with this adorable mini mullet! Midway through week 7 while I’m writing this, it has mostly grown back!

June 17th, Renee and Ender (my sister in law and my nephew) stopped by. It was so fun seeing them and seeing Ender interact with Quinn. He kept bringing over little “gifts” to her (usually one of Moose’s dog toys). It was so cute.

Moose has really warmed up to Quinn. He likes being close to her and actually has become very protective of her/more protective in general.

 And that wraps up weeks 5 & 6!!

Peace out all!!!

Question for you:

Do you have any encounter with wildlife type stories?

Are you on any food kicks right now?

<3,

Mackenzie

Friday Favorites! 6/10/22

Happy Friday!! I have had this list of *very random* favorites building for some time now and finally just threw them in a post! So here are some things I have been loving lately :

1. Uproot Cleaner Pro. We tried everything to get Moose hair up from one of our couches where is seemed enmeshed into the fabric. We even hired a professional furniture cleaner, and even they weren’t able to get it up. Enter this handy little inexpensive tool!! Wow, this works so well- we are obsessed and use it all the time!!

2. Grilled Marinated Artichoke Hearts. Where have these been my whole life?! My goodness these are tasty! I put them in eggs, stuffed sweet potatoes, on avocado toast, with antipasto spreads, and the list goes on. Deeeelish.

3. Meteorite. I’m just really enjoying this song lately.

4. Prayers for my Baby Girl book. I received this wonderful book at my shower from a great friend (Thank you again, Dani, if you happen to read this!). It is filled with short but powerful prayers to pray over your daughter. I started one per day when I was pregnant, and I love how it puts words to the desires/hopes I have for my girl in such a beautiful prayer. It has a scripture with each prayer too 💕.

5. Ruggable Rug. This is a long overdue favorite! We got a Ruggable rug as it’s made to be thrown in the washing machine & is stain resistant. Is there a better rug specifically for pets/kids?! It’s amazing!

6. Stay Close. If you’re looking for a great thriller/mystery show that is easy to binge, Stay Close on Netflix meets the ticket. I went through this show so quickly!

7. Educated. I just started this, and it’s probably one of the most well written books I’ve ever read. And the story is just wild, it’s mind blowing it’s true !

8. Waist leash. This is my solution to walking both with Quinn and Moose! It works GREAT & is so comfortable. I am amazed how well it’s working out!

9. Air Fryer. I am so late to the game with this one, but my mom and Pete surprised us with an air fryer while they were here, and I am obsessed. I put anything and everything possible in it! It’s the BEST for reheating leftovers too.

10. Voice memos on iPhone. I have discovered how beneficial these are considering I don’t always have two hands free to text anymore! So helpful!!

What are you loving lately?

<3,

Mackenzie

Postpartum Stay & First Mother’s Day!

Good morning!! I hope you all are having a great week 🙂 It’s 5 AM here, and my girl is sleeping soundly on my shoulder while her milk digests. I figured why not write a post before we both go back to bed (bassinet in her case).

I left off last time heading to the postpartum unit. We arrived to the unit around 4 AM and got settled in. The room was itty bitty and there was barely room to move, but we had all we needed- a bassinet for Quinn, a reclining chair for DJ and bed for me. And my bag full of snacks ;). We tried to get some sleep between the feeds, but I was so wired with adrenaline I found it near impossible to actually fall asleep.

We did have a serious scare that morning around 9 AM. When cuddling with Quinn, she started choking and started turning blue. She wasn’t clearing whatever it was with back slaps or any attempt to get up whatever was causing the choking. Our nurse immediately took her out of the room. I think I can speak for DJ too when I say it was the scariest single moment of our lives- I’ve never known such intense fear. We watched the nurses through the glass to the nursery and when they gave us a thumbs up I felt weak with relief. They deep suctioned her and had found she had a thick piece of mucus lodged in her throat from the amniotic fluid. They said this can happen within the first 48 hours after birth. DJ and I took turns making sure we had an eye on her at every second through that 48 hour window. I thanked God, and still thank Him, over and over that she is ok. The nurses were amazing too – and did not miss a beat. I tell this not to place fear in anyone, but for parents out there to be aware of this in the slight chance it ever happens (I had no idea this was a thing!) and to know where the code button is in your postpartum room.

Immediately after the incident happened, they placed her skin to skin with me, and it felt like all was right in the world. The rest of the day as we shook off the shock, we spent our time cuddling her, announcing her birth to friends and family and keeping up with the pain management post delivery (wowza! The pain that first few days sure was something else!). She also breastfed like a champ all day. I love and treasure the breastfeeding experience so much; I’m grateful it has gone well from the beginning because I recognize that’s not always the case. I also was able to sneak in a shower which felt amazing. It’s kind of incredible what a luxury a shower can feel like in the hospital.

That evening, they offered to do her first bath, called a swaddle immersion bath. She did really well with it! She met one of her great Aunts too!

And back to more cuddles 💕 It does not get better than this. I cherished (and still cherish) every second.

 Saturday, May 7th, was much more relaxed and uneventful (thank goodness). We continued our snuggling, took lots and lots of pictures of her and ordered Door Dash for a couple meals. I still ate my free meals from the hospital too – the breastfeeding hunger is no joke!!

That evening, Quinn met her Poppy and Sissy (one set of her grandparents) for the first time 🥰. Special moments!

Since there was some uncertainty exactly when my water broke and due to the choking episode, they decided to keep us an extra night. I didn’t mind, it really made a huge difference in our confidence by the time we left. The hardest part was being confined to that small room and being soooo sleep deprived. Writing this a few weeks later, the hospital was the most sleep deprived we have been through the whole postpartum period (which is saying something!). At one point I fell asleep talking mid-sentence. I’ve never done that before 😅.

DJ was so unbelievably supportive and helped me with everything. He definitely changed more diapers than I did while we were in there, he always made sure my water bottle was full & my snacks were within reach. I imagined during the postpartum time in the hospital we would watch a lot of shows or read books- but all we really did was stare at our girl pretty much the whole time.

When Sunday May 8th rolled around, it was time for us to be discharged! It was pretty special getting to go home with Quinn on Mother’s Day 🥰. We got our bags packed and put her going home outfit on!

A lot happened between the above picture and the next one. When we got home around noon. We went to see our Moose, let him out and introduce him to Quinn. The dog sitter had told us he was acting a little odd that morning, licking his behind and chasing his tail in circles. We have seen this before and usually something is just irritating his bum. But when we let him out of the crate we immediately knew something was actually wrong. DJ called my dad in law, who dropped everything right away and came over with my step mom in law and sisters. The guys took Moose to the ER and the rest of us stayed here with Quinn. Thankfully Moose was ok, he got some antibiotics and steroids on board and is fully recovered now. What an eventful first day home, eh?

Once they got back, we had lunch all together from Piada (probably my current fave restaurant for quick eats!) and all spent time with Quinn.

That evening, my MIL (Quinn’s Gigi), Renee and her fiancé, Chris, and Quinn’s cousin, Ender, all came by to meet her! 🥰

We FaceTimed my mom and Pete that evening too. We were counting down to when they’d be able to fly into town!

It was a very special day (and thankfully Moose ended up being ok). It was a Mother’s Day I’ll never forget 🥰. I have never felt so secure in a purpose and overjoyed in a role as I do being Quinn’s mom. I am so grateful and love her so much my heart may just explode. I’m also so stinking thankful for my mom and mom in laws- they are the BEST and set the bar pretty darn high for me! We feel so blessed Quinn gets to call them her grandmas 💞❤️.

Thanks for reading !

<3,

Mackenzie

In that Christmas Spirit & A Bumpdate <3

Good morning, friends! How are you doing? I am writing from a Nervous Dog in chilly Ohio- well, chilly at the moment. It’s supposed to get to 38 degrees F  later, and in my book that’s exciting because that’s still over 30 and feasible to take Moose for a walk!

Anyway, recapping some of our time in December. This has been one unforgettable month.

We have continued our walks with Moose where the weather allows. We have been very lucky as this has been most days! I have grown to actually love these cooler walks. There is something so calming about it. Maybe it’s a type of cryotherapy, hah. DJ said it’s the highlight of his week too when we go as a family on Saturdays and Sundays.

We have started letting him off leash as much as possible (when no one/no bikers are around). He does so well & it is the cutest thing seeing how excited he gets when that leash is off. He is his happiest running around and exploring.

There is one biker on the trail who passes us frequently, and a couple weeks ago he said “HI MOOOSE!” as he zipped passed. I must say “Stay Moose” enough as he passes that he learned Moose’s name haha. A couple days ago he stopped his bike and played with Moose for a little bit. It was adorable! Moose makes friends wherever he goes.

This vid also cracks me up. I was working on my laptop, and I looked over and he was chewing on my scarf. He looked so frantic & guilty when I caught him, lol. (We do let him have that old running shoe as a chew toy, we recently took the laces out though just to be safe).

On December 4th, I went to Rachel’s to see her new home and have a cookie baking night! I also got to meet her new pup, Trotter, who is the most adorable golden retriever. I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture- next time!! I know Trotter and Moose would be best of friends, I can’t wait for them to meet. She also made me the most refreshing and yummy lemon rosemary mocktail, and we sipped away while we chatted, ate some cheese and crackers and baked Christmas cookies!

We mayyy have burnt both batches on the bottom, but they actually still tasted pretty good (well the tops anyway, hah).

After making our cookies, we watched Love Hard. It was adorable and gave me my once a year Hallmark-type movie fix: cheesy, predictable and made me cry happy tears. The tears mayyy have been a bit amplified by the hormones. (Also I didn’t understand the title Love Hard– but someone said it is a combination of Love Actually and Die Hard and that makes a lot of sense!).

The whole night got me majorly in the Christmas spirit and it was SO GOOD to see Rach.

Feeling festive, I decided that weekend was the best time to get some decorations up. We didn’t get a tree this year with Moose being sure to destroy it, so on December 5th we put up our mini tree from last year and decorated our bamboo ladder with Christmas lights. It is the perfect amount of cozy needed this time of year! Next year, you best believe we are getting back on that real-tree routine, especially with baby here <3

For lunch almost every day for the last few weeks, I have some form of tacos. Ever since we had them at our family get together a few weeks ago, I cannot get enough. So far I have made chickpea tacos, veggie tacos, egg tacos (a lot of these), and my favorite so far were the bison tacos. I usually add a dash of various taco spices, whatever the main filling is mixed with steamed spinach, peppers/onions and then top with whole milk chobani yogurt, cheese, avocado and tabasco over a cassava tortilla or lettuce wraps. YUM. CANNOT get enough!

This was the week before I started my new job, and I wanted to take full advantage of getting ready for Christmas. I spent December 6th and 7th baking away. I made a list of what I wanted to make, ran to the store and then baked both days away while listening to Christmas music. It was magical!

Think Paul Hollywood would approve of that roll? Lol. When I cut it, I exclaimed excitedly to DJ “I see a swirl!!!”. I know it probably could be (a lot) neater, but it was my first time making a Swiss roll from scratch! It was so much fun and rewarding. Plus it tasted pretty good (the important part). I think I still prefer the Swiss rolls with some chocolate, but for raspberry lovers, this was pretty darn delish.

Here is the line up of all the rest of recipes I used, and my personal review of each:

Buckeyes: Very good! My mom-in-law said easily some of the best she’s had and they were DJ’s favorite too. I did omit the brown sugar in the recipe because I didn’t want them to be too gritty.

Gingerbread Cookies: I love gingerbread cookies, and I thought this recipe was really good. I don’t like them too crunchy, these were nice and soft.

Saltine Cracker Toffee: I added pistachios on top and truly had a hard time not eating half the batch. SO addictive. I did have to do this batch over though because my chocolate morsels didn’t melt on the first batch. I recommend using true melting chocolate, melting it a little beforehand and then spreading on the saltines.

Grinch Snowball Cookies: I don’t love snowballs, but if you do, you’ll probably like these. I mainly made them for a pop of color.

Lemon Butter Cookies: This was my personal favorite, and I think I’ll have to make them every year from now on. I added about double lemon zest that the recipe calls for, and I highly recommend doing that if you make this recipe. Never can have enough zest!

Coconut Macaroons: Super easy and tasty if you love coconut.

Peanut butter blossoms: Yummy, classic. I think I did under-bake them a little bit this time from leaving the fridge too long pre-rolled. I also prefer the Reese’s PB cups in the middle of the PB blossom rather than the Hersey’s Kiss, but that’s totally a personal preference!

One my baking days, I dropped off Moose at Camp Bow Wow. It’s good socialization for him, and it would have been tough to do all that baking with him around (especially because his new favorite thing is counter surfing, and so far all the tricks we’ve heard to get him to stop haven’t worked). Anyway, when I picked him up, he was pretty tired both days, and I was tired from baking, so we took a quick nap before I got to prepping for dinner.

On December 9th, I met with my mom-in-law, sister-in-law and nephew, Ender, at Michael’s AM.

I’ve craved this breakfast since we went here. I had a veggie omelette with a side of grits (I had to get them when I saw them on the menu!) and a side of rye toast. We also all tried one of their waffles which was maybe one of the best waffles I’ve had. I want to take DJ back to try it very soon to have this whole meal again round 2!

Even better than the food was the conversation- I feel like we could have chatted there all day!

On December 10th, Moose got in a nice long walk with lots of room to roam and we played catch with a stick until he got tired enough to lay down in the sun. He loves his sun bathing.

On December 11th, Moose started 1st Grade! After him doing so well on the first day, we went through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through and got him a pup cup while I got a decaf coffee with oat milk & DJ grabbed a breakfast sandwich.

That evening, we had DJ’s work Christmas party. It was so much fun & I adore his coworkers. He works with an awesome group of people. I’ve only met them a couple times, but I feel like they’re already friends. We did a white elephant exchange and actually really lucked out with getting a dog toy & treats. This Santa toy is easily Moose’s favorite at the moment!

December 12th, I met up with my brother, SIL, niece and nephews, my sister, Andi, and her mom who flew in from Colorado!

We went to a place that holds a lot of sentimental value for us all- Luna’s. My dad used to take us here often growing up and we all love their food. The minute I walked in, the scent of the diner brought back a rush of memories. This is the type of place that has regulars and the nicest staff.

The best part was being back there all together and sharing this special place with my niece and nephews <3

My brother put these sunglasses on Will- how stinking cute is he!!!

My niece, Kate, started another tradition we used to do – jelly stacking. Did anyone else do this at diners growing up? She did this so quickly – we were all very impressed with her skills!

Once you become a pro at the jelly stacking, the next level is stacking the creamers. I think our record was 11 creamers high or something, but I’m sure Kate will pass that up soon 🙂

For food, I had their skillet. Ohhh I love a skillet. All those hashbrowns, peppers, eggs, cheese- yumm. This was deeeelish.Family picture! Just missed Kevin & Halston <3 We will see them next week though 🙂

After breakfast, we headed to our cousins for the annual Peppernut cookie baking! This is a very special cookie in our family that we have made for generations. The original name for them are Pfeffernüsse, with German origins.

It was so much fun because my nephew, Jack, and niece, Kate, are now old enough to partake in the baking fun!

It was so so special showing them how to roll the dough and do the cut outs, and then my sister Andi did the decoration station with them. Very treasured memories <3

That afternoon, I was prepping for starting my job the next day and DJ was working away on his laptop too. DJ got up to go upstairs for something, and when I walked into the living room, Moose was investigating his laptop. I was cracking up joking he was trading company secrets.

Well, I shouldn’t have laughed too hard, because not long after he did the same thing to me! I am actually convinced he may have just been buying Christmas gifts for himself or my mom joked that maybe he was trying to order Uber Eats.

December 13th I started my new job! Let’s chat job stuff for a second. I had heard from friends how difficult it can be to secure a nurse practitioner job fresh out of school, and it has been. At a certain point I started doing some reflecting. I saw so many nursing roles open and far fewer NP. After a lot of thought, prayer and conversation- I decided to start applying for nursing jobs. I just got a job in the hospital in an area I can learn new skills and continue to grow as a nurse! I feel at peace and excited about it. I have loved the orientation so far and am grateful to work with/for such an incredible team and hospital. It’s not the path I had originally envisioned maybe a year ago, and it doesn’t mean I’ll never work as an NP, but I’m committed to this role and don’t have a timeline or anything set for myself at the moment. This role will be so perfect throughout pregnancy and after baby is born too- it’s very flexible and allows me to not take work home with me.  I’m just going to soak up this direction for all its worth, aim to be the best nurse I can be for my patients and trust God has a plan for this path and all future paths!

On December 16th, my pregnancy pillow came in! I AM OBSESSED. I tried another pillow that smelled a little like chemicals, so I tried to find one that was considered to be made with non-toxic materials. When I stumbled across this one, I had to try it out, especially because the reviews raved about it. This thing is so comfortable and is made with only clean fabrics. It’s a little pricier than what I would have preferred to spend, but it really is worth every single penny.

On December 22nd, I put the final touches on my gift wrapping! I love doing this every year. I usually will lock myself away in a room, put on a TV show and get to work! Something about gift wrapping is so therapeutic.

I also just had to share this- my neck was killin’ me in this moment, but Moose was so comfortable I didn’t want to make him move. He is the cuddliest dog I think I’ve ever known. I hope he is forever my 80-90 lb. lapdog. (That’s what is estimated he will be when he’s full grown).

Aaand finally!!! I have a bumpdate (a bump update)! I have hardly been showing at all, and finally at 19 weeks, I feel like I see a bump. My mom didn’t really show until 7 months, so I think I may be following in her genetic footsteps.

I did start to feel flutters around 18 weeks, I think I also have felt maybe one solid kick from baby girl 💕 It’s one of the most amazing and miraculous experiences.

I hope you have the most Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & a Happy New Year! Sending so much love to all of you as we move into 2022.

Questions for you: 

  • Do you have a special family Christmas cookie?
  • What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?
  • How has your holiday season been so far?

<3,

Mackenzie

First Few Weeks Home <3

Hi, everyone!! I am so ready to start the Ohio recaps. We have LOVED being back. I thought I was going to have many more mixed emotions since I also loved Austin so much- but as soon as I was back it just felt right…As though an entirely new chapter had begun, which it had! Although.. I do miss those sunset runs and find myself day dreaming about them time to time 💭.

Anyway, I drove back from Nashville early August just in time for our anniversary. Unfortunately, I hit a ton of traffic, so I didn’t get back until late- but we had planned on formally celebrating our anniversary another weekend anyway. More than anything- I just couldn’t wait to see DJ. Those three months apart were not easy, and I hope to never have to do that again. I hadn’t seen our townhouse in person either, so I was excited about that too!

DJ gave me a tour, and I immediately noticed the gorgeous flowers he got me for our anniversary <3 Also, side note- you can see wrapping paper up on the windows. We used the wrapping paper as a place holder before we got blinds. I think DJ actually made it look quite nice, and it was a much cheaper alternative than getting those temporary blinds!

The next week was operation get-unpacked-and-organized! I also spent a few days submitting a poster presentation to a national nursing conference- I won’t hear until December if it was accepted though.

I also discovered my love for a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee with oat milk. Yes I know, very late to the game on that one!

We saw family throughout the week that I hadn’t seen since 2019 (!!!), and I got to meet two nephews, which was obviously a big highlight 😊 I also can’t even tell ya how nice it was to have my mom-in-law and Gordie’s cooking again. Gosh, it is SO nice they, and much of our family, are just 15 minutes down the road!

That weekend we ordered from my favorite restaurant in town- Aladdin’s! They have a falafel pizza that is *chefs kiss*. DJ also loves their lamb dish. And of course, we can’t get enough of their famous hot sauce. Well, it’s famous in my book 😉

Around then, I started feeling a little under the weather for about a week- I think my immune system was just shot from all the travel and stress of the summer. When I started feeling 100% again, I started applying for jobs like crazy, went to the BMV (about 4 different times 😭), finished up getting the essential furniture for our home, and we got back to trying some restaurants in town. We ordered breakfast takeout from a nearby restaurant- Garretts Mill Diner. This was an amazing breakfast & those pancakes are in a league of their own!

Also, we had a good laugh over this receipt (look under veggie omelette).

I didn’t make a big deal out of ordering egg whites or anything, so I’m guessing Brian made an order wrong earlier that day. Oh, Brian! It seemed like such a sweet staff when I went in to pick up the order, so I’m sure someone was just playfully ribbing him. Whenever an order anywhere is wrong for us now we jokingly go, “Come on, Brian!”. But in this case, lemme tell ya, Brian made a GREAT egg white omelette!!

The weather toward the end of summer and early fall was absolutely gorgeous. We took full advantage and tried to get in as many hikes as possible!

We downloaded the AllTrails app which we lovee & started out on our first hike: Deer Run Trail.

This hike was a bit buggy, but still enjoyable.

Next was Brandywine Falls, probably my favorite hike to date.

I was amazed by these beautiful waterfalls! It’s kinda crazy that we lived here for most of our lives and didn’t know about some of these trails- my mom said she did take us here once when we were younger, but I don’t have a recollection of it!

The trail transforms from a shaded and wooded area with ledges and falls to an open running trail with a couple quaint little farms lining the trail. If you look closely, you will see a little lamb peering through the doorway.

The trail eventually went back to a more traditional wooded trail with a stream never too far out of reach.

For dinner, we found a new favorite restaurant- CoreLife Eatery. It is kinda like a Sweet Green (Sweet Green still is better, but this gives us our delicious salad fix!).

Near the end of August, I was craving a run on one of my favorite running trails- Lock 29.

The trail is mostly paved and super easy running with gorgeous views and nature. It’s just so peaceful.

I actually had my senior photos done here. It’s kinda fun all the little memories we have sprinkled throughout here. I think I was a little worried it would feel like I was stepping back in time coming back to Ohio, in the sense that I worried I would feel like the growth I made in myself over the last nine years would be lost. I didn’t like myself when I left the Midwest, and I worried I’d have some type of identity crisis moving back. It hasn’t been like that though at all, it’s just an exciting new time in every way, and I tend to remember the good here more than the bad. We often smile and laugh about our memories here prior to moving away, and it’s so much fun to simultaneously make new ones in a place that is so special to us ❤️

I can’t wait to share much more!

Thanks for reading 🙂

<3 ,

Mackenzie

Oh Hi!

Hi, everyone! Things might look a bit different around here. I decided after five years, I was ready for a bit of a blog change. I have been thinking about changing the name of my blog for probably over a year now, and I finally landed on the name “Oh Hi!”. It’s a little play on “Ohio”, but I also hope it captures the welcoming nature of the blog. If you type in mackmarie.com, you should still find yourself here, but the alternative URL is ohhiblog.com. That’s really the only change- everything else will be the same! Just a whole lot more Ohio content 🙂